How might I derail myself?! Let me count the ways to SELF SABOTAGE...
-By Leah Bonnema (Stand Up Comic)
I'm always amazed, no matter how often it happens, how the hurdles I face on stage are microcosms of my struggles off stage. This seems obvious. But I reserve the right to be amazed by the obvious.
The great part of having to deal with a bad habit, for example self sabotaging, live on stage, is that it becomes very clear, very quickly, because people are watching and within seconds you can see and feel the response. It's like life lesson mini courses being blared through speakers directly into your head: an immediate, crystal clear, huge smack in the face.
I assume many, if not most, if not all, people self sabotage in one way or another. That's why we have all these wonderful phrases for it: Cutting off your nose to spite your face, shooting yourself in the foot, being your own worst enemy, c&%k blocking yourself, building your own jail, not helping your cause, you create your own hell, you are your worst enemy, etc.
I have a few "Leah, you always do this, pull back now, now, uh, too late" moves. One of my all time favorites is focusing my energy in the wrong place. A hundred great things could be happening and I'll be obsessing about the one thing I can't control or isn't going the way I want it to and making myself feel absolutely horrible about it. The same thing happens at a show, a thousand people can be laughing and I will place my entire self worth on the one who isn't.
This past week a new event occurred, I DID NOT self sabotage (but Sweet Yeezus how I wanted to).
I was having a really good set (and I would tell you if I wasn't, I tank sometimes, I feel like I really connect sometimes, and sometimes it's ehhhh fine just doing my job) but this night was a great show. I was having fun with it, everyone was laughing and clapping except for this couple to my right. They weren't even directly in my vision. I of course could hear them but I can hear everybody. And they weren't even loud enough to disrupt others (if that had been the case they would have needed to be dealt with) so no one noticed but me.
I wanted to focus on those two people so badly that I could feel myself being physically pulled by it as a civil war broke out inside my brain. My mouth and body continued on with the story I was telling while my mind split into two camps and argued pros and cons of addressing these two douchenozzles.
Leah 1: Shut them down. They are why this generation is such a disaster. So rude. So entitled.
Leah 2: The rest of the audience is having a wonderful time. You derailing your entire set to tear them a new asshole only gives them more power. Do your job Bonnema. Let it go.
Leah 1: They are sooo rude! Someone needs to tell them what pieces of shit people they are, do it for society! And let nothing go, ever.
Leah 2: How's that working out for you? People mostly behave badly because they want attention. So go ahead, give them attention, so they will behave badly again next time.
Leah 1: Ugh, I hate this "I can only control my own actions" bullshit... Fine, but we're getting queso after.
I consider it a huge victory that I did not address the two idiots. I did not derail. Instead I stayed the course and felt really good after my set. It's a huge life lesson that I'm continually learning and continually being reminded of, focus on the good stuff. The bad stuff (more often then not) is only as big as we let it be. The choice is ours.